NUTRITIONAL IMPACT OF THE SUPPLEMENTARY FEEDING PROGRAMME ON CHILDREN
This study was a cross sectional evaluation study which sought to find out the nutritional impact of the supplementary feeding programme on the target population – children 6 months to 59 months. The study also looked at other factors (socio-economic and demographic) known to affect the nutritional status of children. The impact of the supplementary feeding programme was measured based on anthropometric indicators ? height-for -age, weight ?for ? age, and weight-for-height. The study used multistage sampling techniques to select 400 children 6 to 59 months from the base-line study carried out at the beginning of the programme in 2003 by reviewing the existing baseline data. Four hundred (400) children 6 to 59 months old benefiting from the supplementary feeding programme as at August, 2007 were also selected using the register of beneficiary children in each community. Anthropometric measurements were taken of the sampled children (post intervention) while same was retrieved from the sampled baseline data (baseline). Mothers/ care-givers of the children were the subjects for interview, and similar information was sought out from the sampled baseline data.
1.1 Background Information
Under nutrition is an underlying cause of 53% of all deaths in children younger than age 5 years (WHO, 2005). The prevalence of stunting (chronic under nutrition) has dropped world wide. In developing countries, stunting dropped from 47% in 1980 to 33% in 2000 (WHO, 2000), although progress has been uneven among regions. Stunting has increased in Eastern Africa, but decreased in South-eastern Asia, South-central Asia and South America. Northern Africa and the Caribbean show modest improvement while Western Africa and Central America present very little progress (WHO, 2005). Despite an overall decrease of stunting in developing countries, child malnutrition still remains a major public health problem in these countries. In some countries rates of stunting are rising, while in many others they remain unacceptably high (WHO, 2003). The pattern in Africa is quite distinct. The prevalence of stunting declined from 40.5% in 1980 to 35.2% in 2000, a decrease of only 0.3 percentage points per year (WHO, 2005). The highest level of stunting is found in Eastern Africa, where, on the average, 48% of preschool children are currently affected. In this region, stunting has been increasing at 0.1 percentage points per year.
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